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I am making wine jelly and have run out of lemons. I have some citric acid in the pantry. Can I use the citric acid instead? The jelly calls for half a cup of lemon juice. If I can use it, how much citric acid would I use?

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  • Yes you can. Don't know about the quantity though. I'd just add it in small quantities until it tastes right. May 7, 2012 at 23:54
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    @ChrisCudmore, the lemon juice is used mostly to bring up the acidity, not for taste. So adding the citric acid based on taste sounds like a bad idea.
    – Jay
    May 8, 2012 at 0:59
  • Yep, unless you trust your tongue as much as a pH meter, you're going to want to be sure about quantities.
    – Cascabel
    May 8, 2012 at 5:27
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    Though actually... I don't know your recipe, but I think wine typically has a pH (3ish) well below the cutoff I've seen for boiling water canning (4.6)?
    – Cascabel
    May 8, 2012 at 5:35

5 Answers 5

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Yes, you can. In fact, many canning and jarring recipes specifically call for citric acid.

Presumably you are using citric acid in its dried, crystalline form. In that case, a solution of around 4% citric acid (e.g. 4gm in 100ml of water) should be around the same strength as lemon juice.

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  • Compared to the lemon juice, citric acid solution won't be as flavorful. I imagine you could dissolve the citric acid in something else to keep from diluting the jelly, though then you might want to know about the pH of that something else.
    – Cascabel
    May 8, 2012 at 5:34
  • No doubt. Although most of the flavor from lemon juice is the citric acid (and ascorbic acid) in it, so I doubt it would mar the flavor that much.
    – FuzzyChef
    May 8, 2012 at 6:10
  • In 7 cups of jelly, I couldn't taste half a cup of lemon juice, but I think I'll add a bit more than the suggestion just to be safe with my pH levels (even though, as mentioned above, the pH levels are probably already OK).
    – Chandra
    May 9, 2012 at 1:28
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This link http://www.livestrong.com/article/520416-how-to-substitute-lemon-juice-for-citric-acid/ says 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid substitutes 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.

So for half a cup of lemon juice, use two teaspoons of citric acid, and compensate for the missing liquid.

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  • Hmmm. So they claim lemon juice is equal to a 6% solution of citric acid, instead of 4%. I wonder which is correct?
    – FuzzyChef
    May 9, 2012 at 6:18
  • They could both be correct depending on the variety of lemon used. May 9, 2012 at 12:28
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I just read you can add 3g citric acid/l or kg to make jam or marmalade.

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    It would help to know where you read this - we have no way to verify the accuracy of this ratio.
    – Aaronut
    Feb 10, 2013 at 21:53
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I googled it, and it says 1/4 teaspoon citric acid= 1tablespoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon citric acid =1/4 cup lemon juice

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  • Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. This was already stated in a previous answer; if you have something more to contribute, please edit it in. Aug 19, 2018 at 2:17
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The rule of thumb:1 Tablespoon of lemon juice can be swapped for 1/4 tsp of citric acid powder for canning. But citric acid is not used for adding flavor. It is used more like a preservative. For jams or jellies I would strongly suggest you use lemon juice.

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    Oct 17, 2022 at 22:52

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